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Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

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478                                   THE IKON INDUSTRY.
The iron industry of Alabama has suffered from the extravagant statements of promoters, and it may be well to quote from W. B, Phillips, who has done so much to forward the interests of the State, but who has no praise for those who have brought the district into ridicule. I quote this friendly authority to show that what is here written is not put down in malice: "We may keep the great outcrops of ore for a sort of show-place and continue to publish photographs showing 15, 20 and 25 feet of ore as evidence of the prodigality of nature. But there is not a single place on Red Mountain, from Irondale to Raymond, where even 12 feet of ore is mined, and the huge seams taken as a whole are worthless. It is all very well to take visitors to some great cut in the seam, and ask them what they think of that for ore. What they will think depends entirely upon how much they know about the ore."*
The ores used in Alabama are of three kinds:
Brown ore=Limonite.
Soft ore=Hematite, carrying about 1 per cent, of lime.
Hard ore=Hematite, self-fluxing.
The composition of each varies very much, and sometimes there are small seams of ore running fairly low in phosphorus, but at no time has any considerable amount been located which would justify ' the hope of making Bessemer iron on a large scale. Phillips states that the general run of ore as it is smelted will give an iron containing 0.20 to 0.80 per cent, of phosphorus, but in another place (p. 167) he states that no furnace in the State is warranted in guaranteeing under 0.75 per cent, in the pig-iron.
The brown ore or limonite is the best ore in the State and more is being mined every year, but a brown ore bank is a very uncertain proposition; it may yield good material for a number of years, or it may be exhausted in a comparatively short time. Brown ore is a mixture of lumps of ore with a more or less tenacious clay, and a thorough washing is necessary. The average composition at the stockhouse is as follows, it being assumed that all hygroscopic water is expelled:
* Geological Survey of Alabama, 1898, p. 277.